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Building a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

I recently exhibited for the NLM at the National Wellness Conference in Stevens Point, WI.  If you have not attended this conference before, I highly recommend it.  Some of the program offerings this year:

  • Wellness Career Paths
  • Positive Practice Environments: Mandate for the Nursing Workforce
  • Emotional Wellness for Professionals
  • eHealthy: Using Internet Resources for Optimal Well-being in Seniors

I attended a session after a fun day of exhibiting called Organizational Wellness: Building a Psychologically Healthy Workplace.  The speaker discussed how psychological health has a major impact on all areas of our work life.  If the psychological health of workers and the organization itself is failing, it can have an effect on physical health, work productivity, team effort and the like.  There are costs associated with a psychologically unhealthy workplace.  Some of these include: executives expect more and more from employees without reciprocal compensation, staff overreacting to minor issues, and decisions being made about the organization but in isolation from its environment.

Some research results that were revealed in this session:

  • 74% of employees say that work is a significant source of stress and one in five has missed work as a result of this stress (APA, 2007)
  • Depression results in more days of disability than chronic health conditions such as heart disease, hypertension etc. (National Committee on Quality Assurance, 2004)
  • 83% of employees report working while sick, citing reasons such as heavy workload, need to conserve time off to meet family needs, and a work environment where taking time off is ‘risky’ (ComPsych Corporation, 2007)

So we know what makes a psychologically unhealthy workplace.  What makes a healthy one?

The 5 key factors that came out of this session:

  1. Employee engagement
  2. Employee growth and development
  3. Work-life balance
  4. Health & safety
  5. Employee recognition

Both the employee and the organization will benefit from a healthy workplace.  The employee benefits by experiencing better health (physical and mental, job satisfaction, improved morale, etc.) The organization benefits by increased productivity from staff, reduced absenteeism, and lower turnover.  How have you created an organization that is productive and happy? Share via the comments your success stories.  An incentive to achieving a healthy workplace: the American Psychological Association has an awards to recognize organizations for their efforts to foster employee health and well-being, while enhancing organizational performance.

The awards and honors are as follows:

  • APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards
  • APA’s Best Practices Honors
  • Local Psychological Healthy Workplace Awards

If you are interested in learning more and to apply for an award, go to

The GMR Lending Library also has copies of the Spring 2009 MLA webcast, “Finding Work-Life Balance: Strategies for You and Your Institution” which you can check out, and receive 2 hours of MLA CE after viewing and returning the evaluation.

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